Golf: Honour culture limits doping scandals: Woods
24 Oct 2012 - 11:47:27
Tiger Woods Wednesday suggested golf's culture of honour reduced the chances of a Lance Armstrong-style doping scandal, despite a comparatively light drugs testing regime.
The American great, speaking after Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins in a case that has rocked cycling, said anti-doping officials test golfers' urine while they do not take blood samples.
He indicated that a sport such as golf, where players admit their own penalties, had an intrinsic honesty which was not apparent elsewhere.
"We just implemented testing probably three years ago I think it is... I know we don't do any blood work like some of the other sports do," he said ahead of the CIMB Classic tournament in Malaysia.
"Right now it's just urine samples, but that's certainly a positive step in the right direction to try and validate our sport."
World cycling chiefs this week accepted the findings of a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report which put Armstrong at the heart of a sophisticated drugs conspiracy.
But Woods, another iconic sporting figure who fell from grace when a sex scandal came to light in 2009, said golf was an entirely different matter.
"This is a sport where we turn ourselves in on mistakes. A ball moves in the trees, guys call penalties on themselves. Golf is a different sport," he said.
"I think that's one of the neat things about our great game, and I think with the testing, it's only enhanced that respectability throughout all of sport."
Comparisons have been drawn this week between Woods, who remains sponsored by Nike despite his marital infidelities, and Armstrong, who was dumped by the sportswear giant over the USADA report.
Golf lacks the intense physical demands of cycling but the pressure to hit the ball hard and accurately, and maintain mental focus over four four-hour rounds, with huge rewards at stake, could tempt some players to seek an unfair edge.
In 2007, nine-time Major-winner Gary Player said he knew "for a fact" that golfers were taking human growth hormone, creatine and steroids, and called for random drug-testing.
In November 2009, after tests were introduced on the PGA and European tours, America's Doug Barron became the first golfer to be banned for taking a performance-enhancing drug.